Eps 10: Life Canvas – a powerful tool for your life vision

July 12, 2023


I’m a huge fan of visualising a big, bold, beautiful future vision for your life. I do this through a powerful tool called Life Canvas which has profoundly impacted my life and close to a hundred of my clients over the years.

If you want to know how to create and manifest your ideal life 3 years from now, then listen in to this episode to find out how.

Read the full transcript below or listen to the podcast on YouTube.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • The profound benefits of two weeks in Fiji on a tropical island
  • What is Life Canvas and why is it so powerful
  • My 3 year vision for my future shared with you
  • How to use Life Canvas to create your own future today!

Experience Life Canvas for yourself through LifePilot


Well, hey there, lovely. Today we’re gonna talk about how to create a beautiful future vision of your life that you can actually start to bring into reality. Today I’m talking about the one, the only Life Canvas.

I can’t wait to introduce you to it in this episode of the Life Pilot podcast. Before we begin though, if you are wondering when you’re gonna quit dreaming and start living your ideal life today, then perhaps today is that day.

Especially if you are to try out Life Pilot, a simple yet powerful strategic life planning tool that turns your big life vision into achievable goals and intentions that you can start on today. It’s designed for busy people like you who wanna know what to prioritize to get the results they want and live their ideal life.

Okay, so I have been missing in action in case you didn’t notice. This is episode 10, and there was a little hiatus because I took two weeks off to go to the beautiful tropical island of Fiji in the South Pacific. And oh man, when was the last time that I took a full two weeks to just rest, recharge, relax, and rejuvenate?

I’m not sure. And it was. Exactly what we needed. By we, I mean Josh, my husband, Leonardo, my son, myself, our relationship, our friendships, everything. And it was amazing. And before I went, I did not batch any podcast because this is all about how I wanna live my life and I wanna be in alignment and flow and not ever pressured or stressed to deliver on things.

I simply want to come to you with great value. And great sharing as and when I wish to, and I promise though that I will be getting into a more consistent flow because that holiday just was the change up and as I said, the break that we needed, I am back, I am feeling focused, energized, excited, and also grateful.

We spent it with our dear friends and they also have two young children. We spent it at a mix of a beautiful resort on the garden island of Taveuni, which is just so tropical and lush. And what I loved about this island compared to several trips that I’ve been to in Fiji before is that it is a real local island, as in.

Mainly Fijians live there. They work there, they tend to farms, they tend to their homes. They manage resorts. They just are a beautiful people living in multiple villages around the island. It is renowned for its coral and its diving. With this beautiful reef called the White Wall, apparently it’s the best diving in the world.

I know there’s a lot of places that can make that claim. We did a lot of snorkelling and it was pretty stunning. And the Ika, which is the Fijian word for fish, were just my favourite thing, along with the coral, along with finding starfish and crabs and just all the beautiful sea life mixed in with this gorgeous, tropical, lush garden life that the islanders renowned for producing a whole lot of its own crops.

They’re very, self-sustained there. So during covid and lockdown, they were one of the islands that didn’t receive any government funding because they were able to still feed themselves.

It was a fun little fact that I learned and it just felt like we were visiting and living in with the locals. They also say it takes a village to raise a child.

Man, I can see why Fijians love children and why they have big families and why it works for them, because it’s the one place I feel that I have been to since having Leonardo, whereby when your kid is crying or squealing or just whatever, they will just come and grab the baby that’s crying, or they will come and grab the kid that’s playing up and they will just play with them, sing with them, like they don’t view it as an inconvenience.

They view it as. It’s all part of a bigger thing. We’ll help you out. We’ll support you. We have, multiple kids, cousins, nephews, whatever, and everybody just chips in and helps out, and it’s part of a big loving family. So if you have kids and you would like to go to a place where when something happens, people don’t give you that look of like, eh, can you quieten your kid?

They give you that look of awesome, let’s just grab this kid and have some fun. Fiji is definitely one of those very welcoming cultures that is all about family and that just made it awesome. Like we didn’t have much childcare while we were there, but we were able to be so fully present with Leo and with ourselves because when you’re on holiday, you’re just relaxing.

So everything becomes fun and that whole aspect of the village helping us raise our children was a beautiful part of it.

While we were there, I was surprised at myself that because there was literally no internet, so I was mainly offline, which I loved. I had all my offline study with me for my certificate in holistic life coaching.

And so I was actually able to finish up the last couple of modules, submit my theory practice workbook when we did get to internet, and, super thrilled that I’ve passed with flying colours and received all that so that when I was back in New Zealand, I was able to hit the ground running with my practical life coaching sessions.

Since coming back, I have had so many one-to-ones with all these beautiful people in my community, former clients and even some friends who put their hand up to receive a complimentary life coaching session. And let me tell you, I have been loving it.

There’s just something really powerful about becoming a coach who asks the right questions, who can help people reframe, who is looking for the patterns and the beliefs and the behaviours that are underlying a lot of the things that are holding you back, any of those limiting beliefs, any of the language that you’re using, the stories that you’re telling yourself.

I love how it is applied to all of life, which is what Life Pilot is all about, is applying this holistic look and approach to your life so that you’re covering all the areas. Not that you can be balanced in all the areas all the time, that’s just unrealistic. However, you can be living your best parts of your life in certain areas that will have a ripple effect in areas of your life.

And most of the time it starts with you. So if you want a more financially abundant life. If you want to be healthier and fitter, if you want to be doing meaningful work, it almost always starts with you.

And that’s what life coaching is all about. It’s bringing out your best self and understanding the deeper elements, the childhood trauma, the beliefs, the behaviours that you’ve taken on as your identity, which are no longer serving you and transforming those into the you that you know you can be.

So more on that later, but that will be a future offering that, is coming your way in August. If you want a great life coach and you’d like my decade plus of business coaching and life experience of just so many amazing things that I’ve done throughout my life and all the work that I have also done on myself, that will be something that is coming your way in August.

But in the meantime, one of the other things that we did while we were in Fiji was we updated our life canvas and what was really cool about it, is that we did it on Sunday, the 1st of July, which happened to be the day where my previous Life Canvas had essentially expired.

Well, that was the date that I had set my Life Canvas on three years ago, of what I wanted three years in the future, but written in the present tense. So that is the whole thing that makes Life Canvas, I think a very powerful and amazing tool to use.

It is putting out your future vision for how you wanna live your life across the six areas of life that LifePilot are made up of, which once again are wellbeing, wealth, personal growth, work / impact, relationships and lifestyle.

So you essentially create a snapshot. And a snapshot in Life Canvas is this one page, just a short one page with a beautiful image that aligns with your vision for that area of your life. A statement for what you want your life to be three years from now in that particular area. So let’s say it’s wealth.

And then three, I guess, supporting statements from your head, heart, and mind that allow you to really lean into that statement of what you want. And it’s powerful beyond measure because if you can talk about something that you want that feels so far from your reality right now, perhaps in the future, but you do it in the present tense.

It is part and parcel of everything that I’ve been learning in this life coaching certificate about how you can rewire your brain to actually start believing that at a level of consciousness that actually your brain can’t differentiate from reality versus the vision that you hold for yourself.

So what happens? When you start talking about this vision that you want for the future, but in the present tense, and you look at it every day, or you read it out every day, or you listen to it as an audio, you have it hung up on a wall or you have it on a screenshot on your laptop or on your phone, you literally start to make things happen that will make that a reality much sooner than you ever think.

So I alluded to this in probably the very first episode of LifePilot. I think this has been probably the most powerful thing I’ve ever done in my life.

I used to call it the painted picture, when I came across a lovely man called Cameron Herold in Canada, who was doing that at the time for big corporations, he was getting them to do a painted picture of what they wanted for their team, their culture, their products, their profit, all of this stuff.

And I decided to apply it to my business and my life and my relationships. And the very first one that I did on a beach in Malaysia, and I just spent hours just being by the water, looking out at the ocean and thinking about what I really, really desired. And then I wrote some notes and I read a little bit more of his book at the time around it, and I started like essentially putting my vision down into paper.

And then I put it into a really lovely PowerPoint presentation at the time, and I put pictures with it, and I was really clear and focused on my goals and what I wanted and my intentions. I wrote it all in the present tense. And, and then I decided to do this thing that is one step further, which is the thing that I think is key to it all.

I made it public. So if the thought of sharing your big juicy three year vision just scares the bejezus out of you to share it publicly. Then I encourage you to share it with at least some friends that you respect, admire, love, and who wholly encourage you in whatever you are doing in your life so that they can be your accountability buddy.

They can hold you to it. They can check in with you once a month, once a week, once a year, and say, Hey, Nat, you know, you know that beautiful Life Canvas that you shared with me. I wanna know how you’re going like. How is that unfolding? What are you working on? Where do you need support? They can be your, as I said, your support buddy, your lifeline.

They can be the person who just checks in with you and they can make it more real for you. Because now it’s not just shared with you and private. It is a real living thing that you’ve put out there. And what happens when you put something out there? And state it publicly, is that suddenly you feel a lot more responsibility to make it happen.

And why? Because nobody wants to look bad. Nobody wants to look like they threw this bigger thing out there and then they never did anything about it or that they failed, or worse that they never even started on it. I don’t, I don’t care how many times I fail at something, how many times I give something a shot and it doesn’t work out.

But if I don’t ever even give it a shot or start it, I just. I just think it’s such a waste and it really frustrates me.

So I put it out there publicly on PowerPoint, and even more than that, I put it onto SlideShare. Can you remember that tool? I presume it’s still going, but I put it onto SlideShare, which is a tool where you can put up SlideShare presentations.

Pretty great naming really on that front. And, let me just check actually while I’m talking to you, because what happened is quite miraculous.

So first off, I put it on SlideShare and a bunch of people like hundreds and then thousands of people, read it and just were really inspired by it and went off to create their own painted picture at the time, their own life canvas.

And what’s more, I also, shared it in a podcast. And what I loved about that is that people listened to that podcast, the Suitcase Entrepreneur Podcast at the time, and, a bunch of people came forward and said, Hey, Nat, that thing that you wanted to do, I can help you with it. Because I just happened to have a friend who, is doing that right now and probably really work out.

So this is April 4th, 2013, was the date that I did it. So the day after my birthday, it’s had 66,000 views, craziness.

And in it I talked about how I wanted to do a TED Talk. I talked about how I wanted to have a number one bestselling book. And people started coming forward and going, you know, look, Nat, I’m an editor, or I have a, a book publisher, or, somebody who might be able to help you out.

I had a dear friend Deborah s say, Hey, Nat, I’ve spoken at TEDx a couple of times and I have a really good contact at one in England and you know, you never know they might be interested in, in talking to you or having you come and speak.

So within a year in, in some cases, in six months, some of the stuff that I put in there actually had already come true. And that was when I was like, holy Molly, this is powerful.

Like I had no idea that I could be so clear on what I wanted from my future, put it out there so vulnerably and brazenly and actually have people say, Hey, I’d love to help you or support you on that.

So it was, it was incredible. And I’ve continued to do this every three years since then. And then I brought Josh in on it and we’ve adapted it a little bit into these snapshots, which I love because they’re just a one page.

We give you the Life Canvas template within LifePilot and there’s a whole lesson on it in my course on Life pilot and how to use this as a tool for really turning your dreams into reality.

And I’ll just read out one of my ones because what I found fascinating is that some of these, cause I said this three years ago, right? I absolutely have made it happen. And I sound like I’m surprised because I, I am cuz the one that I thought I was maybe not furthest off from, but one that I felt like I kept setting these goals or these intentions, but I really wasn’t living was my health and wellbeing.

And I’ve put a picture of myself literally running and leaping through this beautiful forest close by, from a photo shoot from about three years ago. And I’m in my active wear and I’m like literally jumping over the top of this little hill with all these beautiful PGA trees and native trees surrounding me, and I’m flying through the air and it looks really awesome.

But even looking at that picture now, I remember I was in decent shape and I was doing a lot of dog walks and I hadn’t started yet training properly for the half Iron Man. And so I was just kind like I was in okay shape. And now I look at myself and if you remember in my last episode, episode nine, which is all about the 10 day detox that I did.

I’m pleased to say that I have lost five kilos in total, close to six now, and I lost weight while I was on holiday. I can’t remember the last time I’ve ever been on holiday and lost weight. So here was my wellbeing Life Canvas snapshot:

I am in peak physical and mental shape, and my health is my most price asset that I prioritize every day for abundant energy and clarity.

And then I went on to say with my three statements,

I bounce out of bed full of gratitude and vitality for my morning ritual. And I’m able to give my all to everything I do. I am a committed yogi and meditator and do daily functional workouts that engage my mind and body. I love the primarily vegetarian, organic way of life and nourish my body and soul with intuitive eating.

Now, Josh read this and he’s like, you do bounce outta bed almost every day. Even like obviously when I was having a baby in the hard and thick of all that, it was the last thing I was doing, but.

Now that I’m like through that phase and feeling back to, and even better than before I was pregnant and even better than when I think I wrote this snapshot.

I was just amazed at this because I do prioritize my health every day. If I don’t do some form of movement or exercise, I just don’t feel like I’ve I had my best day and I am really committed to my yoga. I would say the meditation needs work, but it’s a work in progress.

I’ve been doing a lot of HITT and Pilates and strength, and I’ve really, really committed to that over the last year, and obviously even when this was, I went straight into training for Triathlons, so I’ve always been about my health and wellness, so that one felt really good.

Some of the ones, my relationship one with Josh was, was really on point. Not saying that we haven’t had our ups and downs and oh my gosh, kids can do that. And that is a whole other episode. But, that was, that was pretty on par.

My wealth and abundance was really off because a month after writing this life canvas and putting it together I went on maternity leave, I shut down all my business income, aside from my like, passive income from products and have literally been not earning income for close to two years.

Through choice because even with the new startup that we took on, that is not something that we’re drawing a salary from yet.

It’s profitable now, but you know, we’ve only had it for just over a year and it’s a sustainable housing business and there’s huge amounts of money that you have to put in and huge months of cash flow of stuff coming in and out. And it’s, it’s not one of those businesses like my online business where you know exactly what’s happening all the time.

And it’s just a totally different P&L and cashflow is king. So. That went. My wealth goal, I guess, went out the door cuz I wasn’t able to invest. I invested in one property, I wasn’t able to invest in more. I shut down my business.

So I wasn’t increasing my profit 10% year by year. But I was using money as a force for good and I was continuing to manifest abundance.

Like I felt particularly abundant during that time, despite the fact that I wasn’t technically earning. And they do say that babies bring abundance. So I guess also it’s a lot about. The money mindset. But in terms of my intentions I set for it did not happen. What else do I have on here? Uh, lifestyle.

Lifestyle made me laugh because it’s actually also pretty true. But it was definitely before we had Leo, and the photo that I used for it is like, this lady rather than myself, it’s like this lady rocking out with her hair, kind of in the air sunglasses on this beautiful sunset behind her and all this mist and, and lights.

And she’s clearly at a festival just dancing her booty off. And I look at that and I’m like, yeah, that’s pre. It’s pre Leo life. Even though we did go to a family festival together, I didn’t actually get to doing much dancing in that cuz I was so exhausted during the day of attending all the other events and all the music and, like, I didn’t dance the night away like crazy, like this, this image.

But the rest of it still stands true today and is again, a work in progress. So the Life Canvas snapshot statement was:

Life is a beautiful mix of adventure rich experiences and opportunities to be lived. And I think that’s pretty much my outlook on life. And then I have, Josh and I spend 10 months a year enjoying our haven, living off the land, planting our forest and garden, and enjoying our community, friends and family.

And that is very close to being true for the last three years, even with Leo, because we have still taken time out to go away for periods of time and typically over winter.

And this is something I think is very achievable for us and we want to continue living by, especially after the speedy trip, we’re already in talks about how can we take six months?

Oh, that’d be great. Six weeks out a year to go to a more sunny, wonderful, welcoming place whenever it’s winter here, and do that with friends and family. And really make it an intentional holiday where there’s also some co-working and some kid time and some child caring and sharing, and just people that you absolutely wanna hang out and spend time with in a gorgeous place.

And then I had Josh and i’s spend one month of the year exploring New Zealand, living in and helping communities and taking an adventure during winter to reenergize our souls.

So we’ve been pretty good at taking an adventure during winter. To re-energize our souls, even when Leo came along. And we have done a fair bit of exploring in New Zealand, but that is one that I think is gonna be even more important over the coming years because we can hire an RV or a camper van and we can go camping and we can do all sorts of cool trips to explore New Zealand.

It’s just so much easier. It’s better for the environment too. And then the one that I really missed, but it’s still an intention: each month I take one full weekend to focus, plan, strategize, and recharge to be at my best in life and work. This is usually a long weekend with Josh. You can tell that was a statement written before we had a baby.

And I think now we’re just kind of like taking weekends to recharge, but with Leo, or we’re taking date nights and nights out in the city or away as my intention over the next year to have really great carers that we trust who we can spend nights or a night away from Leo and make this a reality.

So I was just sharing a few of my examples in there.

The other one that I think was actually, I hadn’t looked at for so long, and as I said to you at the start of this episode, this is the thing that you should look at every week, every month, at least, to stay focused on your dreams and making this a reality.

I didn’t look at this one as much, so my personal growth or my growth snapshot was:

I am committed to become the best version of myself as a human and impact maker, and then I put, I have achieved a professional qualification and performance coaching / human potential and use it with all my clients with amazing results.

Well, when I read that, I was like, holy crap, I am probably about a month away from doing that, yet.

I never actually put this in or planned this into my schedule, and I’ve done it anyway. And that’s the other power of sometimes you put these big thoughts and intentions out there and they might not have it in the time period that you want, but you’ve still planted the seed in your head and probably in your heart to actually fulfil that.

I put:

I have an amazing coach and several mentors who push challenge and nurture me to reach my full potential.

And interestingly, I took on a coach at the beginning of this year and she is great and she’s a leadership coach and a therapist sort of all in one. And we meet every two weeks. And I find that really great.

And I have several friends who I would say are mentors who I’ve actually been just leaning on and enjoying and sharing with over the past couple of years. So I was quite surprised to read that because I realized that without pushing for it, I had actually got what I had wanted.

And finally, I put:

I work on my mindset daily through meditation, manifesting learning, and stretching my boundaries.

In this last six to nine months especially, I feel like that has definitely been a commitment of mine and something that I have stayed very true to yet when I first said that I wasn’t doing that. So I think this was a really beautiful one, and I’m not gonna change it that much actually. And this is the beauty of life canvas.

When you get to that three year period, it’s not like you throw everything out the door, you look at your snapshots and you say, which of these are still relevant? Which ones need updating? Which ones need a whole refresh? And you work from there.

So they’re always a work in progress. My Life Canvas work snapshot was very much probably on track with the 10 K club, but then of course I have finished that up.

I still miss it incredibly. I love, love, love the women that I worked with in that, and I’m really looking forward to, within my life, coaching, being able to reconnect into that space and work with amazing women.

And then, yeah, so that was essentially a bunch of those were super on track and a couple were like, As I said, not taking into account the fact that I went on maternity leave, bought up a son and changed everything quite dramatically.

So Josh and I have now reset our ones for this coming year, and we actually talked through them. So we had an hour with some childcare at the beach, at a beautiful little cafe where we. We went through our life canvases and we talked to each other about what went well, what we missed, what still resonates, what we’d like to change.

And then we spent another hour down by the jetty overlooking the gorgeous water, seeing some freaking dolphins fly in the air. It was a pretty incredible, as the sun was sitting, talking about what we wanted for this next iteration. So my next step now that I’ve percolated on that and taken it in is to update my life canvas for the next three years.

And what we also got to do on the weekend once we were home, because we, I don’t feel like we’d finished the process. We hired a babysitter and we went out to a cafe for an hour and we worked on, and this is the first time we’ve done this and I highly encourage you to do it.

We worked on a joint Life Canvas. We just chose two areas, relationships and wealth, where we have joint goals, I guess as a couple, as a married couple, to work towards.

So whilst in our own Life Canvases, a lot of our areas of life that we wanna work on, we already include each other in.

But this was one just for us to work on as a couple, because as you probably know, it’s incredibly important to have joint activities, goals and visions with each other to work towards in a relationship.

Otherwise, you can really stagnate and having a holiday is a really perfect example of something that you’re jointly working towards together that you can get excited about. That really does create an impetus and inspiration and motivation within your relationship.

It’s something you can both look forward to. So we have now set wealth goals that are quite specific and relationship goals that we are really holding for each other, and I’m really excited to see how that works to have both a joint one and our own individual ones because, and this is another episode for future.

If you want a really great relationship, you have to constantly realize that struggle and that push pull between independence and interdependence, which is something my coach told me about and I just loved it.

Ever since she dropped that gem, I have been thinking about yes, the push pull of why sometimes you’re doing so well in relationship and other times it just feels like, ah, is because you’re still your own independent self and you’re having to live in this interdependence of this union that you’ve created.

And there will always be that. That dichotomy, that push pull, and it’s how you work with it to make it the best that it possibly can be, because there’s benefits to having independence.

There’s benefits to having independence within an interdependent relationship, but more on that in future episodes. For now, if this idea of the life canvas has captured you a little.

If you’re intrigued, if you’d like to know more, then come across to this episode. You’ll find that is at lifepilot.co/10. That is one zero, and I will drop a link to how you can get your own life Canvas template, through Life Pilot. It’s just $19 a month.

It’s totally a hundred percent worth it. I think it would be immensely powerful for you. And I know that every single client that I’ve taken it through still revisits it and does it to this day. In fact, the lovely Jo Bendle shout out to her, she just said she’s updating hers right now and that she’s still. Loves it as a tool to use.

And that was 2014 when I think we did that at my retreat in Bali. It was a long time ago and I love that this is still resonating for so many people and it has changed my life.

So I hope that it is something that you will consider grabbing life pilot for if just for this very tool. And gift yourself that vision for your future. Do it with your partner, your friends, whoever it may be. And of course, as I mentioned, share it.

Share it as publicly as you are willing to, that still makes you feel held and supported. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s show.

It’s so good to be back on the mic and for more details and any of the other episodes. We have touched on a bunch of things relating to how to live the life of your dreams and make it a reality one day at a time.

Because we are all about making micro changes in our habits and our actions to get to the life that we truly want to live and start living today, not tomorrow.

Head across to life pilot.co. Thanks so much for listening.


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About the Author

Natalie Sisson

I'm a serial entrepreneur, besotted Mum, best-selling author, speaker, podcaster and lifestyle design enthusiast. I'm all about showing you how to live life to the full, on your own terms and by design.

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